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NBA Trade Rumor: Phoenix Suns may be moving Markieff Morris to New Orleans Pelicans, but can Utah Jazz make a better offer?

The NBA Trade Deadline is in 73 days, and teams may start looking to make moves. Will the Utah Jazz be among them?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz did not make any big moves at the NBA Draft or during NBA Free Agency. They stood pat with the #12 pick and selected Trey Lyles, and had a 7-10 split in the second round with Olivier Hanlan and Daniel Diez. With capspace to use they elected to retain it, and spent only a little of it on Jeff Withey, Elijah Millsap, Chris Johnson, and draft assets Raul Neto and Tibor Pleiss. Dennis Lindsey is looking at the big picture; however, this season now with injuries to Rudy Gobert and Dante Exum the team is showing both a lack of depth and a lack of punch. One way to rectify the talent disparity could be to get in on the trade action. The NBA Trade deadline will be February 18th this year.

That's only 73 days away. We're getting a chance to see some teams needing to trade guys, and other teams waiving the white flag on this season. The Jazz, while not fully in "win now" mode, do need some players. Can they weasel their way into a trade with another team? The rumor is that the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans are in talks to swap Markieff Morris. (As first reported by Yahoo! Sports) This directly means that Ryan Anderson is available. Woj and Shams report:

"The New Orleans Pelicans have emerged as a suitor with interest in acquiring disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

"The Suns and Pelicans have had preliminary contact about a potential trade, but Morris' pending felony aggravated assault charges remain a possible obstacle for virtually every team interested in making a deal, sources told Yahoo. Nevertheless, the Pelicans have significant interest in pairing Morris on a frontline with Anthony Davis.

"Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough has been cautious in his approach to fulfilling Morris' longstanding trade demand, but coach Jeff Hornacek's benching of Morris on Sunday night could be the beginning of the end for the forward in Phoenix. Morris logged just seven minutes in Phoenix's 103-101 win over the Bulls on Monday.

"Morris, 26, has been hounding the organization for a trade since July, after his twin brother, Marcus, was moved to the Detroit Pistons in a trade. For months, inquiring teams were told the Suns wouldn't be trading Markieff Morris, but the organization has struggled to get him to perform at his previous levels.

"Morris has fallen to third on the struggling Suns' depth chart at power forward, a culmination of poor play and poor attitude. He signed a four-year, $32 million contract extension a year ago. Both Morris twins signed extensions with the Suns and were angry that the organization split them up."

- Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, Yahoo! Sports, 2015

Both are stretch bigs who would be a solid compliment to Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. They would both be on paper upgrades over Trevor Booker and Trey Lyles. Booker, like Anderson, is going to be a Unrestricted Free Agent this summer. Lyles, on a Rookie Contract, may one day end up being really good. However, right now it's fair to say that both players on the trading block are better right now.

Player G Min MPG PPG M/G A/G FG% M/G A/G 3PT% M/G A/G FT%
1 R.Anderson 439 11264 25.66 12.74 4.43 10.44 42.39% 2.03 5.38 37.84% 1.85 2.16 85.76%
2 M.Morris 326 8250 25.31 11.40 4.44 9.98 44.50% 0.59 1.80 32.48% 1.93 2.53 76.24%
3 T.Booker 331 6678 20.18 6.50 2.74 5.36 51.16% 0.09 0.31 30.10% 0.93 1.52 61.23%
4 T.Lyles 16 142 8.88 2.13 0.94 2.63 35.71% 0.06 0.38 16.67% 0.19 0.44 42.86%
1 R.Anderson 439 11264 25.66 5.56 0.89 0.56 0.38 17.9 115 108 34.3 1.4 20.12
2 M.Morris 326 8250 25.31 5.40 1.65 0.92 0.63 14.9 102 105 13.9 -0.4 19.99
3 T.Booker 331 6678 20.18 5.11 0.83 0.63 0.60 14.8 110 104 16.1 0.0 13.69
4 T.Lyles 16 142 8.88 2.25 0.25 0.06 0.13 5.7 83 106 0.0 -7.3 4.81

I understand that everyone wants Anderson. He's the gem here; however, Morris could add the versatility the team needs by being a 4/3, and the fire that they could be looking with Booker. Everyone is probably trying to find a way to get Anderson, so I asked our expert, Peter J. Novak, to cook up some trades that work for the team, work under the cap, and could possibly be done.


Trade 1: Morris for Booker and Lyles

2015 2016 December - Morris Anderson Booker Lyles - Trade 1

Morris has a potential mark on him for good because of his off-court crimes (so it's very unlikely that he's going to be a guy the Jazz ever target), but he's better than the two guys the Jazz would send over to the Suns. He's not as young as Lyles, and may not have as much possible potential, but he's two years younger than Booker and under contract for four years. The $8 million, if nothing else, is a solid building block for future trades if things don't work out. But we're all rightfully wary of a guy like that. Peter brings the heat with the next one though.


Trade 2: Jennings and Ilyasova for Booker, Lyles, Morris, Pleiss, and Hood

2015 2016 December - Morris Anderson Booker Lyles - Trade 2

If you want my opinion, Ersan Ilyasova is better than both Markieff Morris and Ryan Anderson. But I am biased for people with crazy names. Here the Jazz are parting with Rodney Hood, a starter, in addition to Booker, Lyles, and rookie Tibor Pleiss. This way Morris is reunited with the Detroit Pistons, the Suns continue to get cap relief, and the Jazz make out like bandits. Brandon Jennings is a legit NBA starter, but this moves the Jazz into a "win now" category, and I'm less crazy about this because it creates uncertainty for Dante Exum's return next season.


Trade 3: Anderson for Booker, Lyles, and Morris

2015 2016 December - Morris Anderson Booker Lyles - Trade 3

If we are trying to sneak a three-way deal from a two team set-up this is a nice way for it to happen. It incorporates the actual rumors while butting the Jazz in nicely. Morris goes to New Orleans to pair up with Anthony Davis. That makes Anderson available to some other team. The Phoenix Suns would do well with him, as he fits that gap they have after the departure of Channing Frye . . . but this after all a Jazz blog. So let's butt in here, and steal the best player for a song. Peter informs me that in this case the Suns also get a 1st rounder back for this heist. I'm fine with that. They're in a way getting two, with lotto pick Trey Lyles going to them as well.


So, what do you think? Should the Jazz try to butt into this possible trade? Should they be active in any trades during this season at all? Or will Trey Lyles one day be better than all four, and it's important to be patient? How do these guys compare to Steve Novak? Lots of questions. Few answers. It's going to be a fun next 73 days waiting for the deadline.

And thank you a million billion times to Peter J. Novak for his expert help with this piece. Follow him on twitter!